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Hand Arm Vibration Testing

The challenges that come with HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome) can be severe and decrease the quality of life of those who suffer from it. Being proactive is key to ensuring that you are able to use and enjoy the use of your hands and fingers as you age.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome affects people differently depending on the stage of the condition. That is why it is critical that, if you are at risk of HAVS, you are aware of the symptoms and take precautions against them.

Awareness is the First Step

How can you do that? First, be aware of the general signs of hand-arm vibration syndrome. What are these?

  • Tingling in the fingers. A “pins and needles” type of feeling.
  • Numbness and a loss of fine motor skills.
  • Aches and pains in the joints and bones.
  • Whiteness of the fingers and hyper-sensitivity to the cold.

Next Step: Testing

According to Shaun from Principal Power Tools “If you feel like you work in an at-risk environment (construction, demolition, etc.) and you have the initial symptoms of HAVS, it is important to get testing done as soon as possible.” By doing this, you are making sure that you can take the next appropriate step to protect yourself from further issues.

What Type of Tests Are There for HAVS?

  • Grip Strength Test

A grip strength test is performed by placing a device in your hand which you will be asked to grip as hard as you can. You will then be asked to alternate between both hands, at least 3 times.

Moving the device from hand to hand will show if there is any difference in grip strength and doing it multiple times gives a good idea of average strength per grip.

  • Cold Immersion Test

This test measures how quickly your fingers warm up after being submersed in cold water, which indicates how well the blood is flowing through your blood vessels.

The temperature of your fingers is taken at room temperature to get a baseline reading. Your fingers are then submersed in 15-degree Celsius water until your finger temperature matches that of the water. Next, your hand is removed and the length of time it takes for your fingers to return to their baseline temperature is recorded.

  • Current Perception Threshold (CPT)

This test is meant to determine how well you can feel sensation in the tips of your fingers. It is a nerve test.

This test is performed by strapping electrodes to the tips of the fingers. Electrical current is passed to the tips of the fingers (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt!) and adjusteduntil you can feel the sensation. It is sometimes described as pinpricks, buzzing or tingling.

  • Purdue Pegboard

The Purdue Pegboard test is a test of finger and hand dexterity. You will be asked to put a set of pins, collars and washers into a set of holes on a flat board. This test is repeated 3 times and the results are assessed to determine any type of HAVS-like symptoms.

Early Detection and Testing

Testing and early detection and critical in the battle against HAVS. These tests are a great way to understand and work with your body to reduce the damage of hand-arm vibration syndrome.

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